This week, our Michigan Regional Coordinator, Kaylena, had our spring tour display at Western Michigan University. This display, “Planned Parenthood Truth,” draws attention to Planned Parenthood’s abortion-centric business model and dangerous facilities. What follows is Kaylena’s personal account of what happened when a crazed pro-choice student approached the display.
I was talking to a student at WMU who was once a volunteer at Planned Parenthood. He was very respectful and surprised by the state laws on abortion and the violations committed by Planned Parenthood. He was completely open to learning and listening to what I had to say and I reciprocated that respect for him.
As we were talking, a student walked by and came to look at the display. She began to scream how this is “propaganda” and to “F*** Off!” She went on and on and I said nothing… I didn’t know really what to say. Eventually, the Planned Parenthood volunteer I was talking to said, “I’m not with her,” and then said, “I have to go… I’m so sorry you have to deal with this.”
Eventually, the guy who was with the shrieking girl told her, “Alright, we need to go,” and had to almost tear her away. I followed them, trying to ask if she would like to talk as she continued to yell at me. I finally got my camera out and recorded her… She said, “You are pushing harmful propaganda on campus!” And continued to swear at me, as you can hear in the video.
But that wasn’t the end of it. A bit later, she came back to the display while video calling her friend, and sat down next to the banners. She proceeded to yell at everyone who walked by, and barked at anyone who tried having a conversation with us that they should keep moving.
Eventually I asked her, “Why are you sitting here?”
“I want to hear what you have to say about your display.”
“If you want to learn, like you claim, you have to have a conversation with me and get off of the phone.”
I asked her to stand up and shook her hand while introducing myself to her. I immediately made sure that she knew I was not trying to be rude, argue, or win anything.
“I want to learn as much from you as I hope you learn from me,” I told her.
While I believe abortion should be illegal and unthinkable, we eventually found common ground. She came around to admit that abortions should only happen in certain circumstances like the life of the mother and rape and she agreed with me that it should not be used on demand for any reason whatsoever.
I told her that part of the mission for the pro-life movement is to create a culture of life where abortion is unthinkable. A culture in which we can help women who cannot afford a child, offer support to women who believe they will fail if they get pregnant in school, and aid to survivors of rape.
Eventually, I got her to walk through the display with me and showed her the resource binder.
“I don’t expect you to change your mind today, or even tomorrow,” I assured her. “Sometimes it takes time, but I hope everything we discussed here will be food for thought.”
She was so surprised about all of the information, and she genuinely wanted to learn more. Before she left, I reminded her that the next time she sees someone who believes differently, try talking to them and attempt to learn from them as much as they can learn from you. I also asked her to go see the movie ‘Unplanned’ with the same open mind as she had when she was talking to me.
Before she left, she told me, “Don’t ever let anyone scream at you or scare you like I did.”
And she thanked me for talking to her. She assured me that she was going to make sure our sources are reliable, and walked away with my contact information and a topic card with the PlannedParenthoodTruth.org website on it where she can continue to learn more.
This experience was a potent reminder to never give up on someone, to show that when you show love, there is always hope that someone’s mind can be changed. Or at least their attitude. This is why we do what we do, and this is why we approach it with love.